And it’s the damage that we do
And never know
It’s the words that we don’t say
That scare me so
Accidents will happen
We only hit and run
Elvis Costello and the Attractions – Accidents Will Happen
As reviews of forthcoming games go, Yorkshire Carnegie’s assessment of Cov’s season thus far isn’t the most flattering, to say the least:
Carnegie will be aiming to claim their first win of the season when they take on Rowland Winter’s team. The visitors come into the game in fifth place in the league. They started the campaign with defeat to Jersey Reds on the road, Rory Jennings scoring the only points for the visitors with five penalties to claim a losing bonus point. They followed this up with a 26-19 home win over Bedford, thanks to late try from Tom Kessell.
And that it. That pretty much the whole pre-match review.
Thank goodness for John Butler.
…Rory Jennings scoring the ‘only points for the visitors‘ away to Jersey in a game which actually went to the wire with the home side hanging on in the final minutes of the game. But read the review and it sounds a pretty insipid performance from Cov.
And then Kessell scoring a ‘late try‘ against Bedford to give the impression that perhaps Bedford were in some way unlucky not to come away with the points when the game was still tied, even before Cov scored.
Nothing about the club, or a first, successful, season in the Championship or the aspirations that Cov might have.
Or even a welcome to the supporters.
All a bit matter-of-fact really.
Brusque and to the point.
But for a club in dire financial straights, well it’s hardly going to generate the kind of interest in a game where they must surely be hoping for a decent sized crowd, especially if they’re lookinig to increase the attendances which are rather on the low side at present. There were just 750 present for their first Championship game against Bedford.
A bit dismissive of Cov too really, given the achievements the club has enjoyed on and off the pitch over the last couple of season.. although in fairness Cov supporters haven’t exactly warmed to Carnegie over the last few months either on various social media platforms.
I’ve been up to Leeds a fair few times to watch Cov and have yet to see them come away with a win. On one memorable occasion the Supporters’ coach travelled up in the depths of Winter only for us to arrive at the ground to find it under several inches of snow with no chance of the game taking place whatsoever.
And then there was the game where Wendell Sailor, the Australian dual code international, took us apart. Frightening it was.
And last season we threw the game away immediately after half time when we conceded a couple of tries and from then on were always playing catch up.
This time though, surely, Cov have to go into the game as odds-on favourites. Carnegie have had to build a squad from scratch, had no pre-season to speak off and have lost their opening 5 games, conceding 264 points whilst scoring just 63.
A points difference then of a mere -201.
By comparison, in their last 5 games Cov have a points difference of +36.
And away against Ampthill last weekend, Carnegie lost 53 – 22 whilst in September in a Cup game away to the same opposition, Cov won 17-47.
As I said, odds-on favourites.
But in recent seasons Cov have struggled to really take advantage of the weaker teams in their league. often saving the best performances for the stronger sides. Two seasons ago away to Darlington, home to Irish and away to Jersey last season, and already against Ealing this season.
Compare those games to the away performances last season against Hartpury, Richmond and London Scottish.
This is Cov – take nothing for granted. Banana skins…
And there are signs, too, that Carnegie are beginning to settle as a squad, scoring a couple of useful tries against Ampthill and keeping the game tight for much of the first half. The highlights of the Ampthill game (see below) show they are more than capable of causing us problems, especially when they run from deep. That said, if Cov can play the game in their half, defensively Carnegie looked poor and appeared incapable of stopping Ampthill from within 5m of their own line.
I’m certainly going up there with in the hope that Cov are going to win and win big, but I’ve been watching Cov far too long to travel in great expectation. Despite wins against Jersey and Doncaster at the back end of last season, Cov don’t travel well and their performance against Jersey a couple of weeks ago wasn’t the most encouraging either.
Hope then by the barrel load.
But a little less expectation.
Rowland Winter hinted on the radio that it would be near enough the same match day squad as last week with just one player coming in. Maybe Halaifonua? He’s was at the ground last week and has had a chance to acclimatise once again. With the Bulumakaus out for some time, options out wide are pretty limited so he would be a really useful addition to the traveling 23.
That said, someone on the MB made the suggestion that it could be George Oram for Nile Dacres…a good shout that given that Dacres has played 3 on the bounce and all of them for the full 80 minutes (I think?)…
I imagine we might see some of last week’s bench starting – any of Trinder, Denman, Nayalo, Wallace and Kessell might well get the nod, with Jennings reverting to 10 even though Will Maisey had a strong game at fly half last week. If Big Dave H is fit and in the squad, I’d be tempted to move Knox back into the centre, put Halaifonua on the wing and let Jennings start at 10. However, with Ealing away the week after, it might well be that RW wants his big guns available then and is happy to keep some of his powder dry this weekend against opposition which should prove rather less of a test.
If this is the case, then expect rather few changes.
At least RW and Nick Walshe do have a few more options this week, especially behind the scrum, which is more than could be said for the Bedford game.
The highlights from the Ampthill v Carnegie – the two teams that already look most likely to be fighting for survival at the foot of the table at the end of the season – are well worth a watch. First blood to Ampthill, but there were moments in the game when Leeds looked dangerous, with former Cov full back Tim Bitirim making one searing break that lead to a try for the visitors.
Cov should win by a good 20 points but I shall be a little nervous travelling up to Leeds. Jersey was a game that we could have won but it was always going to be a tough ask. Sunday’s match-up looks a fiver point if ever there was one.
On paper YC must be the poorest opposition we’ll have played thus far in the Championship.
And we should be the scissors to cut through any threat they might offer.
Let’s hope they don’t actually turn out to be the rock.
If John Coles goes up with Cov to photograph Cov’s clash with Newcastle, I bags first dibs on the ‘Coles to Newcastle’ tagline…
For anyone new to the blog, John is one of the photographers at match days, mostly at home and onsome away days, although he often has other commitments which mean he isn’t always able to get to as many games as he would like.
Whilst I am a snapper, John is a professional in every sense of the word and his quality photos capture the moments in the game that either we miss or wish we were able to hold in our heads with any real clarity for longer than the briefest of moments.
I’m pleased to say, John was at Cov on Saturday and delighted that he sent me a link to his photos of the game, happy for me to use them in the blog.
So here, then, are a few of his photos from last Saturday.
(A footnote to the above – when we were in Jersey, RW asked Cov supporters to group together near the players tunnel rather than spread themselves around the ground).
Many thanks for allowing me to use them in the blog, John!
Accidents do sometimes happens…
…like treading on a banana skin
But not on Sunday. Cov to win at a canter.
And besides, suggesting accidents do sometimes happen gives me an excuse to include Costello – he’s long overdue another appearance.